Coin-Girl Meets Dave Ramsey-Girl

by Katy on May 27, 2009 · 30 comments


My regular readers know that even though I masquerade as Katy Wolk-Stanley, mild mannered labor and delivery nurse, I am actually better known as Coin-Girl. Staunch supporter of dropped change and defender of the the under-appreciated copper penny.

But Coin-Girl appears to be suffering from multiple personality disorder, as she is quickly morphing into Dave Ramsey-Girl. Staunch supporter of gazelle intensity reduction of debt and defender of the emergency fund.

I’m holding a garage sale this weekend, with the goal of raising $1000 for an emergency fund. I am fully aware that this goal is most likely unattainable, but a girl’s gotta dream, right? (If I can meet this goal in a two week period, then I’ll be satisfied.)

And all my profits will go into a savings account.

I’m working both tomorrow and Friday, so I wanted to get myself organized nice and early. I started yesterday by bringing some clothing to a consignment shop. They only bought a pair of sandals, but they’ll price them for $20, which means I’ll make $10. This super-cute pair were a $3 Goodwill find that never really fit me, so I consider this to be pure profit. I also sold a trail-a-bike for $25. (Part of Coin-Girl’s powers is to sell a few choice items ahead of time.)

Today I returned an extra packet of clothespins and cashed in bottles and cans. When leaving the store, I glanced at the Coinstar machine, (which I always do, as they’re often a source for free money) and found a whole handful of change. Granted it was mostly Canadian coins, but who am I to turn down a handful of cash? I found four pennies, one of which was a 1930 wheat penny.

Coin-Girl’s powers are awesome and almighty!

In all, I raised $32. This amount is now deposited into my savings account/emergency fund. (A pittance to some, but a fortune to Coin-Girl.)

So who am I? A girl who will stop traffic at the mere glint of a fallen coin, or a girl with laser intensity for an emergency fund and debt reduction?

Let’s just say I did wear a cape while depositing a lot of loose change at the credit union today.

And nobody bat an eye.

Are you working towards a juicy emergency fund? Please share your stories in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

KC May 27, 2009 at 9:01 pm

We followed Dave Ramsey’s advice and setup an emergency fund. Any extra funds are sent off to the emergency fund and we, like you, sold off all sorts of items to raise money for it. I went through the house from end to end and dug through the garage too. Here in New Zealand we have a home-grown auction web-site (similar to E-bay) called trademe (see so we’ve used that a lot to sell off things (like golf clubs, our old barbeque, books, etc). We now have the $1000 emergency fund as recommended. As soon as we’ve cleared our credit card we will focus on building up the emergency fund to something more substantial.


Cheapchick May 27, 2009 at 9:26 pm

I have an emergency fund of which I am currently drawing. I have always had an extra $1000 in my chequing account as I have an old account that allows for zero service fee if I always keep $1000 or above. Well, my husband quit his job after seventeen years a few weeks ago so in addition to our regular $8000 emergency fund I have this extra $1000 to draw upon if I must. It has given us the freedom for my husband to take his time choosing the best company to work for (fortunately three companies are vying for his attention) without worrying about our money. I also work fulltime so we still have money coming into our household but I am a firm believer in paying cash for everything except assets, paying down asset debt as quickly as possible, and emergency funds. Kudos to you! Your $32 is 3.2 percent there!


BarbG May 27, 2009 at 11:20 pm

BarbG is Canadian. Feel free to send any Canadian money to her anytime!


hustler May 28, 2009 at 12:07 am

I read a Dave Ramsey book a while back and took to saving little bits here and there. My online savings account has grown unbelievably. I started saving not so long ago and now every piece of money, whether a penny or a dollar, that is left over goes towards savings. I used to think change and one dollar bills were meant for the vending machine!


Pennie May 28, 2009 at 12:10 am

For heaven’s sake, my name is even “Pennie,” so I ALWAYS make a point stop to pick up the downtrodden and left behind little coppers! 😀

Like others here, found coins, bottles and cans, garage sale revenue, and the occasional E-bay sale help round out my E-fund.


David A. Pender, LOBC Angel Food Coordinator May 28, 2009 at 6:46 am

I think Coin-Girl and Dave Ramsey-Girl can co-exist. Especially if they work together by putting found coins in savings.

My wife and I are debt free after taking the Dave Ramsey class at our church a few years back, except the house, of course. Good thing, too, because I lost my great paying job a while back, but we’re still making it.

I think if we had more Coin-Girls/Guys and Dave Ramsey-Girls/Guys, the economic state of the country would be much better off, now.

I’m pretty sure I’ve posted a link in a comment on your blog before, but anyone wanting to save money on groceries, while still being able to get steaks and seafood should check out


Sandy May 28, 2009 at 10:15 am

I’m all over this! I love this blog. Thanks 🙂 My first goal after finding out just where all my money goes is an emergency fund. Also,
Canadian coins are worth just about as much as American ones these days, I’ll have you know…


Kristen@The Frugal Girl May 28, 2009 at 10:32 am

Oh yes! We’ve been working very, very hard on our emergency fund. Right now we have enough to last us for 4-6 months, which is a wonderful, wonderful feeling.

We’re still plugging away, though…we want to save up more for our emergency fund, and we want to save up to buy our next car with cash too.


Louise May 28, 2009 at 11:34 am

What do you do with the Canadian coins from the Coinstar machine? Will your local bank exchange such a small amount?

When my stepdad died, the task of turning in his lifetime stash of coins fell to me. What a dirty job! Thank goodness for Coinstar or I would still be rolling, rolling, rolling.


GLM May 28, 2009 at 1:27 pm

I read Michelle Singletary on the Washington Post, and I try to maintain as healthy of an emergency account as I can. At this point in time, I don’ t have a separate “life happens” account, as I’m trying to pay off debt.

In her plan, you have an emergency account for emergencies, and a life happens account for freak occurances. I guess the idea is that ultimately, even if your home needs a new roof, you’ll have money set aside, so you don’t have to dip into retirement savings or credit card debt.

My goal is to get to the point where I generally maintain 2k in my emergency fund at any given time, and somewhere between 2.5 and 3, take the additionally saved money and put it on debt. My goal is to be out of all non house related debt by the end of 2011, and then will focus everything on house debt. It’s slow, but it’s going that way.


Jennifer May 28, 2009 at 3:42 pm

Good luck! We follow Dave’s plan too and it has really changed our life.


Sue Madre May 28, 2009 at 6:59 pm

Now, this may strike some of you as tacky. And it is. But when I drive through a fast-food joint (DO NOT give me a hard time about this, OK?), there are often coins that got dropped on the ground between their window and an earlier car. I pick ’em up and stick ’em in a little amber pill bottle I keep in the car for that purpose. It really adds up! Tuesday, I found a quarter and three pennies at Burgerville and was purty danged excited! Once, the cashier girl saw me and asked what I was doing. “Picking up up money, ” I answered. “What does it LOOK like I’m doing?” Alas, this constitutes a walk on the wild side for me nowadays! At this rate, however, getting to that $1000 emergency fund is gonna take a while . . . .


Alisa May 29, 2009 at 1:05 am

My Dad always said “Things are looking up” when he found a penny on the ground. I’ve always picked up coins. I must have gotten it from my Dad. I saw a man put 6 cents into the trash with his crumpled up receipt outside Target. Even though it was a very small amount of money, I thought that was quite bizarre. It’s still money!


alunachic May 29, 2009 at 6:00 am

Still plugging away at an emergency fund by selling books at and saving change in my big jar! I also sell items on ebay and Katy, I wish you tons of luck on your yardsale. I have NEVER had a successful yardsale and it is indeed discouraging that this beacon opportunity of extra income has totally illuded me!
Report back and let us know how things went!
PS- I found a PENNY in my garden last weekend. I took it as a very positive omen!


Kristin @ klingtocash May 29, 2009 at 6:22 am

I’ve got my $1,000 in my emergency account (900 in an ING savings account and $100 in their electric orange checking). We are currently working on Step 2, snowballing our debt.

I’m crazy when it comes to coupons and deals I am entitled to at the grocery store. Last night, I had a competitor’s coupon I brought with me to the store because another blogger stated that this store was taking competitor’s coupons. The cashier wouldn’t take it. As I was leaving the store, I saw a huge sign that stated they were taking competitor’s coupons during the month of May and June. I marched back into the store and got my $3. That $3 will go onto one of the credit cards when I pay the bills next month. Gotta fight for those discounts!


BarbM May 29, 2009 at 7:45 am

The kids are always saying “pennies are evil.”They know better than to throw them away in my presence.Drop them in the mom box.Yes,I pick up change.Yes,I have an emergency fund. Yes,I am buying silver until I can afford gold.


Laura May 29, 2009 at 9:17 am

We have been following Dave Ramsey for years. We have completely turned our lives around because of his advice! Our children all took the Dave homeschool class as well. I wanted them to have a good start when they left home.


Diana May 29, 2009 at 12:39 pm

I always find garage sales to be worthwhile. Our town does not require permits (I know some at least used to) so there is no up front fee. We never advertise (although we are considering Craigslist this year), just put signs out.

If I make any money at all I consider it a bonus. The house has been cleaned out, I enjoyed a nice day outside, and talked to interesting people, all while earning extra income!


Aleta May 29, 2009 at 2:05 pm

Yay! You can smile in the face of adversity if you have money saved up for those rainy days. We always pick up lost coins and give them a nice home toward our kid’s car fund.


kim May 29, 2009 at 3:47 pm

I just bought a house so my savings account is toast. I plan to rebuild it and prepay 3 months of mortgage and have 6 months of “other” bills saved also.

I am going through all our stuff as it is moved to get it ready for a massive yard sale. I am going to talk to the neighbors and see if they wouldn’t join in so we could advertise it as a community sale to get tons of traffic!


Sierra May 29, 2009 at 9:11 pm

I just started an emergency fund six months ago. Last week, I had a sudden unexpected $500 expense. I was able to say, “Sure, I’ll write a check for that,” without batting an eye. Wheee!

(now to save more funds. I wish I was more organized about selling Stuff)


Hydra May 30, 2009 at 11:25 am

slightly off topic, but I don’t understand why anyone who has a bank account would use coinstar. Coinstar take 7 or 8 percent of the cash from the coins. You can take coins into the bank and they’ll change them for free. Both banks I’ve used have done this anyway.


thenonconsumeradvocate June 6, 2009 at 10:19 am

I ended up putting $400 in the bank from the garage sale. Today is rainy, but I’m going to put together a few craigslist listings.

Katy Wolk-Stanley
The Non-Consumer Advocate


Alicia June 9, 2009 at 2:47 am

My bank allows coin deposits, except on Friday and Saturday. If your branch doesn’t allow it, the customer service person will tell you which branch in the area does. It is worth to ask because let me tell you it is awesome to not pay 7-8% off your hard earned coins!!! Coinstar is a great business idea, but bad for the thrifty consumer.


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